Can you sell the wind?



“Your brand must touch people’s spirits.”


“Think about the customer.  Not in terms of a consumer who buys your product, but in terms of somebody who wants the world to be a better place to live in.  What are you doing to show this person you care about this?”


“According to Modern Marketing theory, we don’t buy things because of what our minds tell us; our purchases are emotional decisions.”



These are just some of the tips given by marketing guru Philip Kotler last Monday during his lecture at HSM’s Marketing Seminar in Brazil.

He said, when advertising first appeared, it had a ‘retail-touch’. “Buy our product. It’s better than the ones from our competitors.”  This was a quite direct approach that worked pretty well for more than a century.


However, lately, with the obvious need for innovation demanded by the marketplace, the advertising industry has been forced to update its approach to reach its targets.

Simply saying that one’s product is the best is not enough anymore. Especially now, with a wide range of brands and products trying to exert influence and appeal to customers, it’s even more important to stand out in some way.


So, given this need, the retail approach has been replaced by storytelling.


Instead of using data, merchants are telling stories and creating characters to which the consumer inevitably feels attached. A bond is forged – and this makes all the difference when somebody is buying something. Consciously or unconsciously.


This bond becomes rather evident in soap operas and movies. But if we know we’re looking at fictional characters, why are we moved by certain scenes and episodes and characters?


The answer is simple: because of empathy.

Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand other people’s situations, feelings and motives, as if they were our own.



If even a “product” (if we can call that a product) like the wind is able to touch people’s hearts, why can’t your product do the same?

So when thinking about your next campaign, try to tell a story that appeals to the audience. And this applies as well to your next presentations.


Presentations with nothing but data and charts are usually boring and make the audience lose focus. So make sure you contextualize the scenario, present your arguments, then show the audience how you can help them.


By telling stories, you make people curious about the narrative and get their attention, so your message is conveyed effectively. This happens because you create a line of reasoning that conducts the thoughts of the audience – and they will generally want to know how the story ends.


For this reason, remember: engaging is as important as informing.

So make sure you generate empathy by using stories that move people. Slip into their unconscious and linger there. They won’t know you’re doing it, and the effect can be amazing.



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